Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 148,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

The vast majority of my income is from my salary. I also sell teaching resources on TES which is a nice little earner, bringing in a few thousand baht each month just from uploading a few resources I have made for classes. I also make a bit of dividend income from investments, but i haven't included that.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I'm pretty fortunate to be able to rent my house out in the UK so that ensures that most costs back home are covered. Most months I am able to put 60 - 70K away. That goes into a pension, a few individual stocks and a couple of index funds that tick away at 9 to 10% a year. I think it's quite important to invest the money rather than let inflation eat away at it.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I pay 15,000 a month in a brand new condo that has just opened in my area. I have a great room, gym and pool. That is one of the best things about living in Bangkok, you get real value for money in terms of accommodation. It's very much a renters market so there is plenty of room for haggling.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


3,000 baht or thereabouts. I have a bike, E-scooter etc, but it's more convenient to car share when going to work, especially if you're not particularly an early riser!

Utility bills

About 2,500 baht a month. Water is about 500 plus 2,000 for the electricity. The totals have been a bit more in recent months though with remote teaching and not wanting to melt sat in front of a computer.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Around 10,000. For breakfast I go cheap and just get stuff like cereal, bread etc and lunch is very affordable at school. In the evening, it's nice to go out. Monday to Thursday, I do cheap Thai restaurants which are no more than 300 baht for me and my girlfriend. Then I'll have a couple of treat nights, which normally involve some good Western food or a decent restaurant at a shopping mall. I'm trying to cut this expense and have recently invested in a rice cooker to take advantage of some of the
good food you can pick up at markets.

Nightlife and drinking

My clubbing days are long gone but I do enjoy a beer after things like football, cricket, seeing friends etc, - so probably around 3,000 baht a month.

Books, computers

I have a work computer but I do buy the odd book for my Kindle. So around 1,000 baht a month.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

Fantastic. I was working at a 6-day-a-week boarding school in the UK, having to do a full teacher timetable, sport and house duties. Bangkok is much better on so many levels. The work-life balance is great, as is the cost of living (especially if you are fortunate enough to get into a good international school). With the money you're able to put away here, it's quite feasible to knock 5 to 10 years off your retirement age if you save and invest your money wisely, all while living the dream and having a great time.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Food. For me I think some of the best food here is the stuff you get by the side of the road or in small, Thai owned restaurants. 60 to 70 baht will normally get you something pretty delicious. Get your trainers on and do some exploring. Build up a good knowledge of restaurants in your local area.

The parks and communal spaces are great too. Things like cycle paths (the green lung), public parks such Nongbun and Rama 9 are free and great places to work out, go for a run, walk etc. The same can be said for sport. It's worth trying to develop some hobbies as playing football on decent 4G pitches can be really cheap if you find a friendly bunch of guys to play with regularly. You really don't have to spend much in Bangkok or Thailand to have fun, but I guess that depends on what you're into.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

Probably around 40,000. I worked in Thailand nearly 10 years ago as a TEFL teacher, which was fine, but I could rarely save any money and was living pay check to pay check. The best investment you could make here is to do one of these new QTS qualifications that can be done based in Thailand or something similar.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Rob. A few teachers have said to me on social media that these surveys where teachers are earning north of 100K per month are just not reflective of the jobs and salaries posted on Ajarn. My answer is that they don't need to be. This cost of living section simply shows what some teachers can and do earn in Thailand. Rob was once a 40,000 baht a month teacher but he studied for better qualifications and secured himself a better job. Isn't this something for 40K a month teachers to aim for?  

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